Writing for Fun! Getting Started on Short Stories


essay writing bright students– Byron H., the Writing Whisperer

Hi Everyone,

To go along with our writing topics I want to include a variety of different genres (subjects that are written about such as fantasy,science fiction, mystery, history, horror, etc.) and mediums (e.g books, journals and newspapers)  so you can see the numerous forms that you can put pen to paper (or to the keyboard).

In the past post for Writing for Fun!, I wrote a short descriptive blurb about the Mid Autumn Festival in China and the harvest season in general. I wrote about traditions that were and are still practiced today in the fall. You, my fellow bloggers, can write about anything you want, real or imaginary. So to begin our journey lets start off with something we all know: short stories.

We read them in school and in our spare time online, in magazines and in books. Many authors have contributed, and still are contributing, to this fascinating area of literature and we can start with writers in our home base.

american lit high school

If we look back in time in early American literature, National Hawthorne and Washington Irving were two prominent writers in the early 19th century. You may know them as the writers of “The Scarlet Letter” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, respectively, along with their plethora of scary stories and historical accounts of their time. They helped to lay the groundwork for later writers the likes of Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe (one of the masters of macabre short stories and inventor of the detective novel, but more on Poe later!) Joyce Carol Oates, Shirley Jackson and Ray Bradbury (my favorite!) to name but a few and there are so many!

In order to get started, select some stories to read by each of the authors listed above as they will give you some impression of how the short story has evolved. Many people have listed their stories online and you can even pick up an anthology of short stories compiled by past and contemporary editors and authors.

One of my favorite anthologies is October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween, a most excellent collection of short stories by famous horror fiction writers of today. You can read it just in time for the approaching haunting season ahead! But lets see how you can write your own, shall we!

october dreams high school

Beyond reading a variety of stories, research how to write a story online just to get some ideas. Authors cannot really tell you how to write but they do offer good suggestions on how to get started (what to think about, how to develop your characters, write a plot, set the mood or tone, lead to turning points in the story, etc.). You can check out the articles on  About.com to begin your search.

For a basic writing exercise you can do right away, try this. Sit yourself down, at your computer or with a notebook in hand, and let images flash through your mind. When you find something interesting popping up, start to write all of the words down that appear in your mind. Or alternatively pick something of interest to you (a favorite pet, character in a TV show, a comic book, a movie, really anything) and just start to describe what you think about it. Who knows? Maybe one of these ideas could evolve into a story.

In our next post, we will think of an outline on how to write a short story and use a famous one as an example! Maybe even your Whisperer will include one of his own eventually…stay tuned!

study hard

To help you further I included a list of few of the many writing blogs for you all to look at just to get some inspiration, enjoy!